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GDC Mobile Summit (M-T)

GDC 2018 content. GDC 2019 coming soon.

Learn the nuts and bolts of great game design and successful business strategies for games on mobile platforms, including iOS, Android, and Amazon in the GDC Mobile Summit, Monday and Tuesday, March 19-20, 2018. Join top game developers from around the world to share ideas, discuss best practices, and shape the future of mobile gaming.

View all Mobile Summit sessions


Featured Sessions


All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, or GDC Summits Pass required to attend summit sessions (M-T).

Implementing Pixar's Brain Trust Model at King, and How It All Went Wrong
Stephen Jarrett (King)
Bob Woodburn (King)
Pixar's Brain Trust is a small group of creative leaders at Pixar who oversee development on all movies. The group came about during the development of 'Toy Story' and is an open candid forum where creative leaders get together with a movie's director to openly discuss problems and solutions. Pixar claims this is a huge success and has helped the animation powerhouse score 14 box office hits in a row. Sounds like this should work for game development too, right? Like most games companies, King tried to implement a similar system called the the Product Champions, a team of talented and experienced individuals in production, art, and game design that would advise and help game teams lift quality. This talk is about what went wrong and how the King team feels now, 2 years later, and how they may have finally made it work.
All the Families: The Making of 'Animation Throwdown'
Peter Eykemans (Kongregate)
Katrina Wolfe (Kongregate)
Ever wonder what it would be like to create a AAA game with a skeleton crew, split between two developers, one publisher, one IP owner, and five individual IPs? Join two producers from Kongregate to hear how 'Animation Throwdown' was created in an unusual way, and how they turned an incredible production problem into a major success.
It's About Time: System Design for Mobile Free-to-Play
Evan Losi (Scopely)
Game systems are complex and it's often difficult to know where to begin. This session will present a practical take on system design starting with the one resource that is universal to all games: time. Whether it's in the form of turns or seconds, many game elements can be easily analyzed and balanced from this angle. Join seasoned system designer and mobile gaming veteran Evan Losi as he presents a systematic approach to game tuning and how this philosophy can be applied to concrete aspects of your game, from economies to weapon balancing. After all, it's about time.
Going Cross-Platform: Is It Worth the Effort?
Tammy Levy (Kongregate)
Today's mobile market is extremely competitive. How can you find additional success? Kongregate has launched a number of truly x-platform games on iOS, Android, web, and Steam. What do you need to change? What KPIs should you expect? Through several case studies from live Kongregate games, including 'Animation Throwdown', 'Spellstone', and 'Bit Heroes', this lecture will share the pros and cons of going cross-platform and allowing players to play where they want to.

GDC Mobile Summit Advisors


Frank Cartwright
Independent

Frank Cartwright brings over two decades of experience in online, social, mobile, casino, lottery, and free-to-play gaming across all genres and platforms. Frank is currently working on a stealth mode effort to disrupt the global lottery game space. Prior to that, he served as COO/SVP of Product and Platform Development at Reloaded Games (formerly K2 Network, Inc.), where he oversaw the product development of the free-to-play publishing platform GamersFirst.com, as well as publishing Gamersfirst LIVE! Prior to Reloaded Games, he served as vice president of online entertainment at the GameShowNetwork (GSN), where he oversaw the product development, technology implementation, and administration of GSN.com, the network's emerging casual games site. Prior to GSN, he served as vice president of product development and engineering at Global Gaming League (GGL), a worldwide leader in organized, competitive online and live video game tournaments and events. Prior to GGL, he served as vice president of production for SkillJam Technologies, where he played an instrumental role in the company's growth and globalization efforts, handling all technical development and production. Frank began his career in gaming in 1995 at Dreamers Guild, as lead software engineer on Turner Interactive's ‘Dinotopia’ PC game. From there he joined Disney Internet Group (DIG), creating dozens of Java, Flash and Shockwave online games and building Disney's online multiplayer gaming platform. Frank has a BS degree in business management.

David Edery
Spry Fox
David Edery is the co-founder and CEO of Spry Fox, the studio behind titles such as 'Alphabear', 'Triple Town', 'Steambirds', 'Bushido Bear', and 'Realm of the Mad God'. Previously, David was Worldwide Games' portfolio manager for Microsoft's Xbox LIVE service, where he was responsible for content strategy and selecting the games that would be accepted for distribution by the LIVE service. David co-authored, "Changing the Game: How Video Games are Transforming the Future of Business" a book that explores the ways that games can be leveraged by businesses for serious purposes.
Juan Gril
Flowplay
Juan Gril has more than 20 years of experience developing casual games. Currently at Flowplay, he is an Executive Producer, leading the design of games and virtual communities. Previous to Flowplay and for 12 years, Juan led Joju Games. The studio produced games for international clients including Dreamworks, MTV Networks, and Atari. Juan is an advisor for the Mobile Games Summit at GDC, and judge for the "Sense of Wonder Night" Game Festival at Tokyo Game Show.
Steve Meretzky

It's hard to have a serious conversation about gaming without mention of Steve. It's also hard to have a humorous conversation about gaming without mention of him. Steve's contributions to the industry began in 1981 at the legendary adventure game company Infocom, where his titles included 'Planetfall', 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' (in collaboration with Douglas Adams), 'Leather Goddesses of Phobos', and 'Zork Zero'. Steve has been VP of Games for King, VP of Creative for GSN, and VP of Game Design for Playdom/Disney Interactive. Steve co-founded Boffo Games and has also held senior creative posts at Blue Fang, Floodgate, and WorldWinner. Over his prolific career, Steve has consulted with teams at Activision, Blizzard, EA, Harmonix and Hasbro, to name a few. A former board member of the IGDA, Steve organizes the Mobile Game Summit at the GDC as well as the annual Game Designers Workshop. Steve holds a degree in construction project management from MIT, but otherwise assures us that he did not waste his four years there.

John Welch
Making Fun
John Welch is a veteran leader of the games industry and one of the early pioneers of digital distribution of entertainment. He is CEO of Making Fun, a developer and publisher he co-founded in 2009 to create mobile, social and PC games. Making Fun's works include 'Eternium', 'Magic & Empire', and 'Ironbound'. These titles are produced with a combination of U.S., Canada and Argentina-based internal talent and close partnerships with outside game studios in Europe and South America.

Prior to forming Making Fun, John was co-founder and CEO of PlayFirst, the casual games publisher famous for the best-selling 'Diner Dash' brand that has been played by hundreds of millions of people. John was responsible for the vision, financing, strategic direction and operations of the company for its first five years, including producing the first 'Diner Dash' title. PlayFirst, acquired by Glu Mobile in 2014, was an innovator in bringing the full-service publishing model to casual online and downloadable games. Prior to forming PlayFirst, John spent nearly five years building Shockwave.com into one of the top game portals of the day as the company's Vice President of Games and Product. In 2001, John's team launched a collection of Midway downloadable games for $19.99 that was among the very first digital content ever sold on the internet, long before Kindle books or iTunes. He was a key member of the Dreamcast Network leadership team at SEGA from 1998 to 1999. Previously, John spent several years running a small consultancy he co-founded. He began his career at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture). In addition to his operating role, John is a director on the boards of two other gaming companies and a strategic advisor to a non-gaming company innovating in the leadership development space. He has served in leadership roles with the International Game Developers Association, and he is a regular advisor and faculty member of the annual Game Developers' Conference. John is an active member of the Golden Gate chapter of the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO). He holds degrees in mathematics and computer science from MIT and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. John enjoys spending his free time shredding the lakes and slopes in Tahoe with his family.

Katrina Wolfe
Kongregate

After graduating from USC in Classics and Game Design, Katrina jumped into the world of social and mobile games at Grab Games. There she worked on a variety of games and carved a path into production after spending a few years as a game designer. She worked at TinyCo on ‘Family Guy: Quest for Stuff’ before ending up at Kongregate where she works currently. At Kongregate she spent the last few years leading the production charge for ‘Animation Throwdown’. She is now a Studio Operations Manager working with Kongregate’s internal studios.

 

Summit Mixer Sponsor


Monday, March 19 6:30p-8:30pm | West Hall, Level 2

Since its founding in 2007, Zynga's mission has been to connect the world through games. To-date, more than 1 billion people have played Zynga's games across Web and mobile, including FarmVille, Zynga Poker, Words With Friends, Hit it Rich! Slots and CSR Racing.

 

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